WBS: But Lafayette prevailed

WBS; What’s Being Said Dept.

Here’s something I missed: Bunnie Reidel, the impresaria over at Telecommunications Consulting posted a nice piece of Lafayette Envy. She leads of with the sorts of news stories that get under the skin of US broadband advocates: the farmer in Japan who likes his 50 mbps broadband; the one about laying fiber in Kenya; the Australians putting together a real national broadband plan (one that involves actual broadband) and then to add to her general frustration:

… it was only last week that I listened to a presentation by Terry Huval of the Lafayette Utilities System on how Lafayette took things into their own hands and built their fiber ring because they knew if they waited for Cox or any other provider to do it right they might as well wait for pigs to fly…

After laying out how much she had to pay for her measly broadband she notes the lower price and higher (symmetrical!) speeds folks in Lafayette can get from LUS. Suffice it to say that for the amount she’s paying for a 6 down/1 up connection she could get 30 mbps symmetrical from LUS. Leading her to grumble:

I hate those people in Lafayette.

But then to fairly, if grudgingly explain:

They do have a history of being cranky. Seems in 1896 they decided to build their own electric and water system because they knew there was no way the utility providers would provide water and power any time too soon to what was an outback Cajun village. And they had to fight in the 1940’s to keep the big utility companies from taking over their system. Imagine the hubris of those people in Lafayette! It was déjà vu when they proposed to build their own fiber, and the public overwhelmingly approved the initiative, in 2005. The incumbent cable company that starts with a C and ends with an X, did everything to stop them, including taking a case all the way to the Louisiana Supreme Court. But Lafayette prevailed.

Bunnie, as you might have gathered, is a pretty cranky gal herself. She thinks this is exemplary behavior and recommends it to the FCC as an example of the sort of inspiring broadband “best practices” story that would encourage others to roll out broadband in difficult places.

And I’d like to recommend the first place they start is by putting in a call to Terry Huval in Lafayette. He plays a mean fiddle by the way.

I’m liking the idea that people see us as determined and an example in this way….it’s what I’d call a good reputation.

But then, with Bunnie, I’m pretty much the cranky sort.

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